Hell Has No End

After arriving home from my first stay at the hospital for a day or two I was feeling a little better. I then had a follow-up with the Internist and as the Thrush was still very present he doubled the dose to speed up this whole process. He also explained where they would have to juggle with one anti-rejection drug that was conflicting with the Thrush medication. More pill juggling but hopefully not for long.

A few days after that appointment, I was still struggling to eat anything that even looked like food and as a consequence was just getting worse. I forced a few morsels down and it soon came to a shouting match with Nat repeatedly telling me to eat. He was totally out of his mind with worry and I, for some unforeseen reason, really had no feelings about the whole matter. My mind, body and spirit had given up. I didn’t give a damn. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted no one around me. I never gave one thought to my consequences despite everyone around me yelling and screaming. I was giving up.

The day finally arrived as I woke up one morning and told Nat I had to go to hospital. He totally agreed and we were off again.

We arrived at The General and was admitted without haste. They gave me a temporary bed in the C Ward on the first floor and was soon having blood work, blood pressure, etc.. done every hour on the hour. My left arm was now bruising up. More questions, more explanations and more answers. I was getting tired of repeating this whole process. Soon enough they had a bed for me on the third floor where I was permanently placed for the duration of my stay.

I was lucky in getting a single room where I could be left in somewhat peace and quiet, and the nurses and doctors could come and go in privacy and hopefully get me out of this bloody mess I had gotten myself into.

The medications (OMG, the medications!!!!) soon began to arrive at their off-scheduled times (according to my time table) and without hesitation the amount increased. The Thrush pills came, the appetite meds began and whatever else they could think of to get me to eat. At times there was so much medication my stomach was full of liquid and there were times I was feeling woozy.

During these long, quiet days it was nice for family to drop by for visits. Family is good. Family is unconditional love. But each family member has their own idea of how to get their sibling(s) better. I was under the impression that my doctors were there for that, but no, they were following doctor’s orders above and beyond their calling. I’m afraid I tore a strip off of one family member, but her nerve, strength, resolve and dogged determination are more than I’ve ever seen, nor want to see again. Truth be told, I was so glad to each sister when they dropped by. It was a relief from my misery and for an hour or two could forget what I was going through.

Dear hubby visited every morning, bringing anything I needed, from fresh T-Shirt to food or treat items. He was tired. Too much worry to sleep and I could see it in his face. His patience was waning and he could no longer think straight or function properly. It was now up to me to take my responsibility by the reigns and fight my own battle.

The physiotherapist and dieticians soon began popping in and out of my door. Dieticians seem to be another doggedly determined group that won’t let go of a bone (pardon the pun). No matter how many times I turned my nose up at something, they were right back at ya with more. This was a war I was not going to win, but I didn’t have the brains to admit it yet.

The days went by, the tests continued – ECG, EKG, chest X-ray, blood, blood and more blood. I could hear the sound of the footsteps and their supply carts as they were approaching my door. Then the food trays would arrive usually around 8:30, 11:30 and 4:30.

I would find the breakfast tray by my bedside at 8:30 just as I was beginning to wake up. It’s bad enough I don’t eat a breakfast at all, but let alone one just as I’m waking up – and then a hospital breakfast. Please spare me the agony. I was struggling at every turn with my dentures . The tops continued to stab away at my gums and would not remain in my mouth very long. I could never get them in a good position, the adhesive(s) were giving me trouble. I tried to make every attempt to put the dentures in every which way I could, as I wiggled and jiggled them in place. It was becoming fruitless and both Nat and I knew I would have to get back to my dentist without haste, as soon I could. Time was now of the essence.

After many discussions with the various dieticians, it was decided that in the beginning my food would be minced up – thus the constant dried-up scramble eggs with some sort of “rock-throwing” Scone sitting beside them. The usual white milk and juice accompanied the tray. After several days of nagging, cajoling, badgering and my dentures getting wiggled into a good position, I began to nibble away at the scrambled eggs and our good friend Cecil’s voice kept ringing in my ear – “you have to force yourself”, to which I did. Suddenly, one day I had managed to keep at least half in my stomach. However, I had to take a large drink afterward and lay back in bed to let my breakfast somehow settle.

Lunch time was just scary. My very first lunch tray consisted of Manicotti!!! Nat and I are light lunch people – usually just a sandwich and small treat for dessert. Manicotti is never on my lunch list and now I see why. Two large rolls of pasta stuffed with (I’m assuming) what looked like cottage cheese (double, triple ‘yuk’) and some sort of sauce on the side. Sorry, folks, I was not going anywhere with those. Besides, two more pieces of weaponry that could hurt someone. I refused.

Suppers were just as bad at times. Mince and gravy, minced chicken with mashed potatoes, Alaskan Halibut that was so hard it could spear another fish. Seriously?? Who cooks like this. These are people in a place of healing, a place of support and help to get people home in a healthier state than when they went in. Truthfully, the food ain’t going to do it. One day I got lucky and managed to eat some turkey breast for lunch and then some (actually tender) chicken. Most other nights the meals were a struggle to at least eat enough to prove that I was doing it.

When left alone, my days in bed were long, boring, and consistently made up of nodding in and out of sleep. With no meat left on the bones, my ass got sore fast, the bone getting numb as the hours wore on, my back getting stabbing pains just behind the shoulders due to extremely pour posture and then there was my hair!! My God, we won’t discuss the hair. I had just cancelled my hair appointment before my first trip to hospital and it was now well overdue for any help it could get.

A few days into my stay, a nice young nurse managed to get me into the shower and wash my hair by turning my wheelchair backwards. What a treat – just letting it dry naturally, I was still a happy camper.

The days began to pass, I slowly began to rise from the ashes and with the Physiotherapists working away at my legs, I began to get out of bed and walk. Albeit painfully slow, I did make progress. I seriously couldn’t lift a leg, let alone take a step. It was going to take me months to get any strength into my upper legs to able me to walk the walk. I will admit the mind had to fight the heart with every ounce of strength I had. Then, at last, after a few weeks, I managed to talk the Doc, the Dietician and the Physiotherapist to let me go home.

For the first couple of days at home things began to improve. Nat and I soon devised a routine and methods for me to get from one wheeled chair to another. With the help of a walker leant to us by Gail, my life really perked up. I was now able to sit and have Nat walk me to the bathroom. It also helped that a cammode was delivered to the house and there will be another “assisted living” assessment done tomorrow. Grab bars can be added in the bathroom, at my bedside or even a chair-lift recliner can be loaned to us for a month, which will prevent Nat from having to assist me in standing.

Now, after even more weeks and a lot of work, my legs have gained a little strength, I’m now able to walk using the walker, can almost stand on my own. It’s taken longer than I had ever anticipated, more work than I could have dreamed but now that I’m on my way, my determination has risen, and at least now I’m beginning to see the end of this whole horror story that’s been turning it’s pages since July 18th.

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